First Round originally launched the $500K fund in September to help finance startups built by current students or recent college graduates. With the Dorm Room Fund currently piloting in Philadelphia, investments are selected by a small, local student committee to provide, on average, $15K in early-stage capital. First Round Managing Director Josh Kopelman says that the goal of the initiative is for the fund to be entirely self-sustained by students, which includes further fundraising.
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The first version of Firefly was built during Penn Apps earlier this year. Co-founder Dan Shipper says, “we think that the companies that will win on in the internet in the next 10 years will do so by finding ways to become closer to their customers through personal, custom interactions. Firefly is a tool that facilitates those kinds of interactions in frictionless way.”
Shipper continues, “We took [the money] not just because we can use the $20K to grow, but because it’s institutional confirmation of what we’ve been saying for a long time: dropping out, moving to San Francisco and raising money is one way to start a company, but it’s not the ONLY way.”
Bootstrapped prior to the raise, Firefly is not seeking any additional funding.
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